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Æthelthryth the Texan

Let's get messy- s/o Ester Maria, Neoclassical/Classical rigor and other ed thoughts?

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Texan, I want to thank you for starting this thread. I haven’t had this much fun on the boards in years. And it was perfect timing too: winter break, baby who insists on sleeping in my arms while I sit on the couch and drink tea...

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1 hour ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Only sewing, baking bread, and growing food are still much needed skills. Hmm...

 

11 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:


Of course, but I’m not the one claiming those aren’t worthy bits of knowledge, or pretending those who have it are inferior, am I? 

I will cede growing food as it is now a science included in university study, particularly on a mass scale. However the others are not academic subjects. That does not mean they are not worthwhile pursuits but they are not academic pursuits anymore than learning how to rotate tires are. That does not require higher education. Specialized skill, sure maybe. But it doesn’t take intellect. It takes brawn. I think it’s not unfair to separate skills from academic content. If we don’t where do we draw the line? Is potty training an academic skill? 

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7 minutes ago, mms said:

Texan, I want to thank you for starting this thread. I haven’t had this much fun on the boards in years. And it was perfect timing too: winter break, baby who insists on sleeping in my arms while I sit on the couch and drink tea...

I have been contemplating leaving the forums bc of lack of anything interesting. 

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I have been contemplating leaving the forums bc of lack of anything interesting. 

Please don’t...

 

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13 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

 

I will cede growing food as it is now a science included in university study, particularly on a mass scale. However the others are not academic subjects. That does not mean they are not worthwhile pursuits but they are not academic pursuits anymore than learning how to rotate tires are. That does not require higher education. Specialized skill, sure maybe. But it doesn’t take intellect. It takes brawn. I think it’s not unfair to separate skills from academic content. If we don’t where do we draw the line? Is potty training an academic skill? 


If the only pursuits worthy of higher education are not hands on, we need to exclude music and dance too, exercise science, etc. We also have culinary and fashion higher education BTW. I just wholly reject the idea that these occupations and disciplines require no intellect. Just...wow.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Words have accepted definitions. Academics is defined as "pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied, especially work that involves studying and reasoning rather than practical or technical skills."

Academic excellence has a specific connotation regardless of personal opinion.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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2 hours ago, maize said:

I agree, and find the presumption that there is a tradition and canon proper to Western Civilization that produces superior thinkers and writers exceedingly narrow minded. 

The idea that quality writing is best developed through a study of Latin and Greek would seem to minimize and marginalize the great traditions of Arab literature, of Chinese literature, of every other literary tradition not heavily influenced by the Greek and Latin traditions of Europe.

I find myself agreeing with Ester Maria in this--teach Latin, teach Greek, if what you want is to engage with the particular literary traditions that surround those languages.

Don't teach them because of a presumption that the classical tradition they represent is going to make your children into better thinkers or better writers; there are many roads to quality thinking and writing.

Totally agree, and this is exactly what motivated DS to study Greek & Latin. Reading different translations of the Iliad made him realize that the pictures he was getting from these books were distorted and filtered by translation, and he wanted direct access (as far as possible) to the world of Homer and Xenophon and Thucydides. That is the way in which foreign language study exposes people to other worlds and other worldviews — by being fluent enough to actually read (or converse with)  inhabitants of those worlds. 

I find it kind of funny that while EM is held up as a paragon of classical education, her explicit statements regarding the actual value of studying classical languages are glossed over or ignored. She thought the way neoclassical educators fetishized Latin was silly and that unless your goal was to read Vergil and Cicero and Caesar in the original language for cultural reasons, you were better off studying a modern language whose literature you would read. I think the reason many people cling to the idea of studying Latin, even if it's only at a very superficial level and their kids don't get much out of it, is that if you drop Latin there's not much left in a "neoclassical" education that you can truly call "classical." And some people are very wedded to that label (including those whose kids attend very poorly led Classical Conversations co-ops or charters with lofty names that aren't much different from PS).

I do think that for students who "get" Latin — those who find it interesting and challenging and reasonably enjoyable — it can be a very efficient way for homeschoolers to get foreign language done without worrying about conversational skills or proper pronunciation, with bits of logic and grammar and etymology thrown in. But you can get ALL of those same things from other languages, and other subjects; there's nothing special or magical about Latin. I find the idea that studying Greek & Latin leads to better rhetorical and writing skills puzzling, because classical writing is often the polar opposite of clear and concise. And the idea that the regularity of Latin is what makes it so special doesn't really hold up given the fact that there are lots of other languages that are equally regular, and Greek is not very regular at all. 

Edited by Corraleno
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29 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:


If the only pursuits worthy of higher education are not hands on, we need to exclude music and dance too, exercise science, etc. We also have culinary and fashion higher education BTW. I just wholly reject the idea that these occupations and disciplines require no intellect. Just...wow.

The intellect was in regard to CHANGING A TIRE. That it required BRAWN, not brains. This is not a controversial statement. 

8 said everything else I was going to say as far as the definition. 

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35 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I have been contemplating leaving the forums bc of lack of anything interesting. 

I just bought your program this week so you aren't allowed to leave right now, I might will have questions. 😄

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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45 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Words have accepted definitions. Academics is defined as "pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied, especially work that involves studying and reasoning rather than practical or technical skills."

Academic excellence has a specific connotation regardless of personal opinion.

 

That definition does not exclude the culinary arts or textile design, nor does it exclude a lot of the work that happens with modern vehicle repair.

Edited by Sneezyone

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42 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I find it kind of funny that while EM is held up as a paragon of classical education,

 

I personally dont hold her as a paragon of CE. I value her conversations bc they for ed me to research CE more in order to understand what actually defined classical ed.  

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

I think that realistically, ANYTHING you learn that makes you think deeply and work out intricate problems is better than something you're forced to do lots of meaningless busywork in. And I also think finding something you're can excel at and honing that skill is good for people. 

But it's going to be hard to convince me that Latin is going to open up more science fields for my kids than doing lots of rigorous math. My DD has to think very hard in our math program, and I'm much more qualified to get her to think in that context than I am in the context of Latin (which I have no clue about.) Which brings me to another point:: I do think there's a lot of value to people leaning on their strengths. A musician should spend more time teaching their kid music than I should. I should spend more time teaching my kids math than someone who doesn't like math. Having teachers who are passionate about a subject and interested in making that subject rigorous and exciting is often worth more than specific subjects. 

To clarify, I wouldn't sacrifice rigorous math on the alter of FL (be it Latin or other intensive study), I would sacrifice generalized Science. 😄 And now I am going to run away before the scientist come for me with pitchforks. But honestly, if you have good logic and strong math skills, you're going to be able to pick up science at the age of 18 with no problem. Unless you are competing against a person who did say 4 years of Chemistry in high school, sure they'll be ahead of you, but you can catch up if you have the will, because you have the ability to learn a complex topic.

I think a lot of the piling on sciences in high school is simply to be more competitive on college apps and to maybe start college at a higher level course and not be repetitive for the student as much as anything. 

(And I am not advocating we keep kids in the dark ala some schooling types where some knowledge is evil. I am obviously not a "science is bad person". I just have serious questions that the "US way" - excluding AP students who can specialize- making sense for science. It's really disjointed, and it seems like the time could be better spent. I don't know that the vast majority of US adults are particularly well versed in many scientific principles/disciplines tbh, much like the math thread.) 

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I personally dont hold her as a paragon of CE. I value her conversations bc they for ed me to research CE more in order to understand what actually defined classical ed.  

Ditto.
 

I have tried to point out several times in this thread how EM’s understanding of classical education differed from traditions that predated her experience of it. 

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1 minute ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

To clarify, I wouldn't sacrifice rigorous math on the alter of FL (be it Latin or other intensive study), I would sacrifice generalized Science. 😄 And now I am going to run away before the scientist come for me with pitchforks. But honestly, if you have good logic and strong math skills, you're going to be able to pick up science at the age of 18 with no problem. Unless you are competing against a person who did say 4 years of Chemistry in high school, sure they'll be ahead of you, but you can catch up if you have the will, because you have the ability to learn a complex topic.

I think a lot of the piling on sciences in high school is simply to be more competitive on college apps and to maybe start college at a higher level course and not be repetitive for the student as much as anything. 

(And I am not advocating we keep kids in the dark ala some schooling types where some knowledge is evil. I am obviously not a "science is bad person". I just have serious questions that the "US way" - excluding AP students who can specialize- making sense for science. It's really disjointed, and it seems like the time could be better spent. I don't know that the vast majority of US adults are particularly well versed in many scientific principles/disciplines tbh, much like the math thread.) 

 

Hmmmm, interesting. I think science opens more doors than languages, frankly. On the other hand, I remember a minimal amount from my high school sciences. But then I remember a minimal amount from most of my high school subjects other than math and the books I read... 

My biased perspective, though, is that getting really solid math in high school IS more important for making sense of math in college than having already taken the class in high school. In fact, practice making SENSE of rigorous ideas helps more in college than anything else.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

That definition does not exclude the culinary arts or textile design, nor does it exclude a lot of the work that happens with modern vehicle repair.

It does if you consider culinary arts a vocation. Also, I was married to a mechanic. It's also a vocation/trade. It's not a higher academic pursuit. The people who design the motors are another story. The people who repair them, nope. 

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Re: how languages impact thought processes, there are numerous research studies reporting that people who are bilingual or multilingual tend to be more flexible thinkers. Here is one:

https://www.fastcompany.com/3056328/bi-lingual-kids-are-way-better-at-thinking-outside-the-rules

There is other research showing benefits of music, of dance, of drama, etc. in various realms of thought and learning; we cannot, any of us, access every possible benefit nor are we at a point of understanding exactly which things an individual or a group on average will benefit most from.

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34 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

It does if you consider culinary arts a vocation. Also, I was married to a mechanic. It's also a vocation/trade. It's not a higher academic pursuit. The people who design the motors are another story. The people who repair them, nope. 

Why a cut and dry differentiation between these two?

Why is practicing engineering different fundamentally from practicing auto mechanics? Both can involve deep knowledge of systems and significant problem solving. Some engineers engage in more creative thinking, but frankly many do not. 

 

Edited by maize
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4 minutes ago, maize said:

Why a cut and dry differentiation between these two?

Why is practicing engineering different fundamentally from practicing auto mechanics? Both can involve deep knowledge of systems and significant problem solving. Some engineers engage in more creative thinking, but frankly many do not. 

 

I'm going to echo back to 8's definition. Words have to have agreed upon definitions to hold coherent conversations. If you want to question and/or upend the entire definition of higher education, that's going to require a whole different thread and maybe some different participants. 

 

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And having definitions and distinctions does not in any way impact the dignity and worth of different professions. Shop class as soul craft is a good book on the subject.

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I'm sort of musing around the notion of breadth vs depth.  I WANT to say I value depth over breadth, and I do think there is real value in having an area of true expertise.  But the truth is I personally value breadth.  I think we need people who are deep, and we need people who are wide.  Pastors, for instance, need a pretty wide education.  There are areas in which they need depth, but they need to know some about an incredibly wide assortment of fields.  Elementary teachers need breadth.  I think there's value to both, and I forget who said it earlier, but K-12 is the time in life in which you are able to acquire a bit of exposure in a wide assortment of fields.  I don't think you need an incredible amount of depth in K-12 areas, but there are a lot of people I encounter in life who would be well served if they had the knowledge contained in even, say, Story of the World, A History of US, and the Let's Read and Find Out series.  Not a lot of depth required, but enough to know SOMETHING about most areas of science.  I think high school science classes and real labs are an important way to teach the scientific method, logical problem solving, how to think through a problem, and know enough to read the news and popular science magazines with enough critical thinking to spot major errors.  

I think I do want most K-12 students to have had some science, some history, enough geography to know where most places are, to have knowledge of both the major canon of western literature (don't get me started on how people can major in English without ANY knowledge of the Bible or Homer) and some non-western literature, to be able to construct a well written essay of a few different types, to identify logical fallacies, to have learned another language to intermediate (at least) fluency, and to have learned enough math to function.  I highly value math, but honestly, I'm not sure the average citizen NEEDS calculus.  I think a class in qualitative statistics would be much more useful for most people.  Ideally, I think people should be able to draw, to sing, to play an instrument, and to run a mile.  I think, given the nature of the fact that school really IS child care, I think schools should teach those things.  And sewing, cooking, and tire changing.  I can see a pretty big benefit to a couple hours a week in elementary and middle school being given over to practical arts.  

But, not everyone can do all those things in the time allotted.  And by high school, I think some specialization makes sense.  

I want to think more about this.  

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Very late to this and have not read through the thread, but EM is not wrong on creative writing! (says a creative writer :)) 

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Words have accepted definitions. Academics is defined as "pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied, especially work that involves studying and reasoning rather than practical or technical skills."

Academic excellence has a specific connotation regardless of personal opinion.

 

I agree with this.

Took ds to - I suppose it's a community college type place in US terms - for an info night, to find out about a design course. The head of dept was explicit that the course was not academic, and that the focus was vocational. Of course! I think studying and succeeding at design takes intelligence and creativity, and is a worthy occupation, but it's sure as heck not an academic course.

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56 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I'm sort of musing around the notion of breadth vs depth.  I WANT to say I value depth over breadth, and I do think there is real value in having an area of true expertise.  But the truth is I personally value breadth.  I think we need people who are deep, and we need people who are wide.  Pastors, for instance, need a pretty wide education.  There are areas in which they need depth, but they need to know some about an incredibly wide assortment of fields.  Elementary teachers need breadth.  I think there's value to both, and I forget who said it earlier, but K-12 is the time in life in which you are able to acquire a bit of exposure in a wide assortment of fields.  I don't think you need an incredible amount of depth in K-12 areas, but there are a lot of people I encounter in life who would be well served if they had the knowledge contained in even, say, Story of the World, A History of US, and the Let's Read and Find Out series.  Not a lot of depth required, but enough to know SOMETHING about most areas of science.  I think high school science classes and real labs are an important way to teach the scientific method, logical problem solving, how to think through a problem, and know enough to read the news and popular science magazines with enough critical thinking to spot major errors.  

I think I do want most K-12 students to have had some science, some history, enough geography to know where most places are, to have knowledge of both the major canon of western literature (don't get me started on how people can major in English without ANY knowledge of the Bible or Homer) and some non-western literature, to be able to construct a well written essay of a few different types, to identify logical fallacies, to have learned another language to intermediate (at least) fluency, and to have learned enough math to function.  I highly value math, but honestly, I'm not sure the average citizen NEEDS calculus.  I think a class in qualitative statistics would be much more useful for most people.  Ideally, I think people should be able to draw, to sing, to play an instrument, and to run a mile.  I think, given the nature of the fact that school really IS child care, I think schools should teach those things.  And sewing, cooking, and tire changing.  I can see a pretty big benefit to a couple hours a week in elementary and middle school being given over to practical arts.  

But, not everyone can do all those things in the time allotted.  And by high school, I think some specialization makes sense.  

I want to think more about this.  

I think it needs it's own thread, because that will be a huge fun topic. 🙂

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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10 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I'm going to echo back to 8's definition. Words have to have agreed upon definitions to hold coherent conversations. If you want to question and/or upend the entire definition of higher education, that's going to require a whole different thread and maybe some different participants. 

But the definition of "higher education" in the US actually does include a lot of the courses Sneezy is talking about. In my state, high schools require at least 1 career or technical credit and 2 credits of health & PE. My local HS offers tons of courses like Fiber Arts, Ceramics, Photography, Fashion Marketing, Interior Design, Drafting, Nutrition & Food, etc. You and EM and others can certainly argue that you think it's stupid and inappropriate for those courses to be offered in schools, but you really can't say that people who support the system that already exists are the ones who want to "change the definition of higher education" in the US. 

I'm kind of surprised that so many people who feel perfectly comfortable teaching "school subjects" at home simultaneously object to the teaching of what they see as "home subjects" at school. Sure there are lots of online tutorials for practical subjects, but people can also teach themselves history or philosophy or geography with a stack of Great Courses lectures and some online Coursera classes. In many ways it's probably easier to self-teach book- and lecture-based subjects than it is to self-teach hands-on subjects like sewing or cooking or drawing or whatever. I don't see anything wrong at all — in fact I see a lot of benefit — in having practical, hands-on classes provided in schools, especially when so few students learn those kinds of skills at home any more. 

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One benefit to teaching non-academic classes in schools is they can afford the equipment. My kid wants to be a carpenter. She gets hand tools for Christmas. They odds are very high that she won't ever be getting the $1500 drop saw I drool over every time I'm in a hardware shop. She can probably learn to weld in a few years if she wants to, but she won't be getting a nice metal bending machine like the one I used in metalwork class at school.

There's lots of things you simply can't even *try* at home because the equipment is too expensive for dabbling, but without that dabbling, you'll never know if you love it so much you could make a career of it.

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7 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

But the definition of "higher education" in the US actually does include a lot of the courses Sneezy is talking about. In my state, high schools require at least 1 career or technical credit and 2 credits of health & PE. My local HS offers tons of courses like Fiber Arts, Ceramics, Photography, Fashion Marketing, Interior Design, Drafting, Nutrition & Food, etc. You and EM and others can certainly argue that you think it's stupid and inappropriate for those courses to be offered in schools, but you really can't say that people who support the system that already exists are the ones who want to "change the definition of higher education" in the US. 

I'm kind of surprised that so many people who feel perfectly comfortable teaching "school subjects" at home simultaneously object to the teaching of what they see as "home subjects" at school. Sure there are lots of online tutorials for practical subjects, but people can also teach themselves history or philosophy or geography with a stack of Great Courses lectures and some online Coursera classes. In many ways it's probably easier to self-teach book- and lecture-based subjects than it is to self-teach hands-on subjects like sewing or cooking or drawing or whatever. I don't see anything wrong at all — in fact I see a lot of benefit — in having practical, hands-on classes provided in schools, especially when so few students learn those kinds of skills at home any more. 

 I do think its inappropriate. I think that it's part of what has blurred the lines between the true need for college and higher education vs the need for apprentice/trade type of experience. It's also watered down the meaning of a Bachelors degree, and was simply done to bilk extra money out of students once the US govt opened the flood gates for en masse student loans. 

And I will agree that it is probably stupid for someone to major in something like plumbing at a 4 year uni. That is an apprentice trade that will be better served in an apprentice field/trade school than sitting in a university for 4 years to get a degree in it and pay $100k for the pleasure, but if people want to do it, they can certainly knock themselves out. I am sure some uni somewhere offers it. But this whole conflation that to be of value we have to slap everything into the four year university model is part of what has devalued the trades in the first place. It's not elitist to say it doesn't take 4 years at a university to learn certain trades. It's honest. Do people in those trades continue learning past the 4 years? They do. Do they continue to add to their knowledge and refine those skills? They do. Do they need someone with a PhD who is required to publish in their field to do so? Nope. 

I mean, I do all of those things for parenting. I read, I self teach, I continue to try and improve myself. Do I need to have a university create a degree field to make it a valid life choice? 

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13 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

But the definition of "higher education" in the US actually does include a lot of the courses Sneezy is talking about. In my state, high schools require at least 1 career or technical credit and 2 credits of health & PE. My local HS offers tons of courses like Fiber Arts, Ceramics, Photography, Fashion Marketing, Interior Design, Drafting, Nutrition & Food, etc. You and EM and others can certainly argue that you think it's stupid and inappropriate for those courses to be offered in schools, but you really can't say that people who support the system that already exists are the ones who want to "change the definition of higher education" in the US. 

I'm kind of surprised that so many people who feel perfectly comfortable teaching "school subjects" at home simultaneously object to the teaching of what they see as "home subjects" at school. Sure there are lots of online tutorials for practical subjects, but people can also teach themselves history or philosophy or geography with a stack of Great Courses lectures and some online Coursera classes. In many ways it's probably easier to self-teach book- and lecture-based subjects than it is to self-teach hands-on subjects like sewing or cooking or drawing or whatever. I don't see anything wrong at all — in fact I see a lot of benefit — in having practical, hands-on classes provided in schools, especially when so few students learn those kinds of skills at home any more. 

Yeah.  I'm embarrassed to say it, but while I certainly didn't have a classical education or even, by many standards, a rigorous one, by the standards of most people in the United States, I had a very GOOD education.  I can self teach academic courses in a lot of disciplines.  (Not hard or lab sciences....and my success at teaching myself higher math is fairly limited.  I got through Calc 3, Discrete Math, and Statistics, which isn't all that much really, but was far more than most English majors did.)  

But...I can't draw.  I can't play an instrument.  I can't cook or sew or change a tire.  I'm comfortable on a university campus, but I have NOT found adulting to be easy.  I've found it hard, really hard, and no amount of YouTube or experimentation has made me competent or comfortable.  I really wish I'd had some practical courses.  Not only did my mother lack the skills in many areas, she heaped lots of shame and yelling on my head when I attempted to do things growing up, which led to panic attacks every time I tried to cook anything or adult in any way that infringed on her spheres.  

Choir and typing were not academic courses, but they are the two classes I've used every single day and am profoundly grateful were required.  My life is so much more rich because I developed competence at singing (and not expertise....I'm a better than average hymn singer and can sorta sight sing.  I can hang with most church choirs but I'm over my head in really good choirs).  And thank goodness I learned to type.  

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And again, if y'all want to debate the definition of higher education and why it's defined (in the dictionary) as it is, that is worthy of it's own thread. That's an expansive topic that's going to spin off into supply/demand and economics rather quickly. 

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Well, let’s start with the notion that higher education is only two and four year degrees. There’s a reason most educators use the term post-secondary education. It more accurately reflects what’s actually going on. And if the suggestion is that the costume designer for a film like Black Panther is nothing more than a vocational seamstress rather than a student of fashion, design, construction, history, and more, well, I have no words for that. Everything can be studied at different levels of sophistication, difficulty and rigor. I feel like the desire to segregate some subjects is mostly about being a balm to those who want or need to feel superior, not about the level of thinking, skill, or rigor.

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12 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Yeah.  I'm embarrassed to say it, but while I certainly didn't have a classical education or even, by many standards, a rigorous one, by the standards of most people in the United States, I had a very GOOD education.  I can self teach academic courses in a lot of disciplines.  (Not hard or lab sciences....and my success at teaching myself higher math is fairly limited.  I got through Calc 3, Discrete Math, and Statistics, which isn't all that much really, but was far more than most English majors did.)  

But...I can't draw.  I can't play an instrument.  I can't cook or sew or change a tire.  I'm comfortable on a university campus, but I have NOT found adulting to be easy.  I've found it hard, really hard, and no amount of YouTube or experimentation has made me competent or comfortable.  I really wish I'd had some practical courses.  Not only did my mother lack the skills in many areas, she heaped lots of shame and yelling on my head when I attempted to do things growing up, which led to panic attacks every time I tried to cook anything or adult in any way that infringed on her spheres.  

Choir and typing were not academic courses, but they are the two classes I've used every single day and am profoundly grateful were required.  My life is so much more rich because I developed competence at singing (and not expertise....I'm a better than average hymn singer and can sorta sight sing.  I can hang with most church choirs but I'm over my head in really good choirs).  And thank goodness I learned to type.  

 

I'm basically fine at adulting, but I don't find it trivial, either. And I really wish I had gotten good at some of those skills when I was in high school.  My mom was also completely useless at teaching me and mostly made me feel bad. I was taught to sew in school, and I still use the skill and find it helpful. I taught myself to cook after college. I am still struggling to figure out how to keep a reasonably clean house in my 30s. 

And yeah, I'm also extremely grateful that I learned to type. That's a skill I use all the time. 

Edited by square_25
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6 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

It's possible. What counts as language problem solving? 

If you have ever looked at a complex Latin sentence it can be quite the puzzle to solve.  

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20 minutes ago, Mom2mthj said:

If you have ever looked at a complex Latin sentence it can be quite the puzzle to solve.  

I haven't :-). I don't try to read in languages I don't speak fluently, so grammar doesn't scan like a puzzle to me. I've heard that Russian grammar can be like a puzzle if you aren't a fluent speaker, too! 

I should ask my husband about this. He was pretty serious about Latin in school. Of course, he remembers almost none of it despite winning awards, which doesn't help my bias against learning dead languages... 

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Just now, square_25 said:

I haven't :-). I don't try to read in languages I don't speak fluently, so grammar doesn't scan like a puzzle to me. I've heard that Russian grammar can be like a puzzle if you aren't a fluent speaker, too! 

I should ask my husband about this. He was pretty serious about Latin in school. Of course, he remembers almost none of it despite winning awards, which doesn't help my bias against learning dead languages... 

It doesnt have to be a dead language for them to forget. Our ds was fluent in Portuguese at age 10 but doesnt remember more than a few phrases now.

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Just now, 8FillTheHeart said:

It doesnt have to be a dead language for them to forget. Our ds was fluent in Portuguese at age 10 but doesnt remember more than a few phrases now.

 

I was semi-fluent in Ukrainian when I was 10, come to think of it, and English pushed every last piece of it out of my head. I don't even understand it when other people speak it nowadays. I tend to forget about this, but you do raise a good poiint...

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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

 I do think its inappropriate. I think that it's part of what has blurred the lines between the true need for college and higher education vs the need for apprentice/trade type of experience. It's also watered down the meaning of a Bachelors degree, and was simply done to bilk extra money out of students once the US govt opened the flood gates for en masse student loans. 

And I will agree that it is probably stupid for someone to major in something like plumbing at a 4 year uni. That is an apprentice trade that will be better served in an apprentice field/trade school than sitting in a university for 4 years to get a degree in it and pay $100k for the pleasure, but if people want to do it, they can certainly knock themselves out. I am sure some uni somewhere offers it. But this whole conflation that to be of value we have to slap everything into the four year university model is part of what has devalued the trades in the first place. It's not elitist to say it doesn't take 4 years at a university to learn certain trades. It's honest. Do people in those trades continue learning past the 4 years? They do. Do they continue to add to their knowledge and refine those skills? They do. Do they need someone with a PhD who is required to publish in their field to do so? Nope. 

I mean, I do all of those things for parenting. I read, I self teach, I continue to try and improve myself. Do I need to have a university create a degree field to make it a valid life choice? 

Sorry I was typing while dealing with kids, visitors, and a very hyper dog, and I conflated two different things (the definition of "academics" and what you said about higher education). One of the dictionary definitions of "academics" is "subjects taught in schools" and the kinds of courses Sneezy mentioned are taught in many, if not most, US schools. The quote from EM in the OP is about high school not college, and that is what I was referring to — high schools providing courses in practical skills, and the fact that many students (not just those at the "bottom of the food chain") may be better served by learning some of the practical skills that are no longer being taught at home. Some, like EM, obviously believe those sorts of courses have no place in high school, and students would be better served by more Latin and Dante and less practical skills. I disagree. In fact I think it's absurd that personal finance courses are often relegated to the non-college-bound kids while the "college prep" kids are pushed into calculus, because the latter are the ones that are more likely to be saddled with debt for years, if not decades, once they graduate from that college they spent 4 stressful years of HS trying to get into.

As a bit of a tangent, I happen to be really interested in the "FIRE movement" and I read a lot of FIRE-related blogs and forums, and there is a BIG emphasis in those groups on developing practical skills and self-sufficiency. Almost all have college degrees — their education did not lack for literary analysis or higher level math or lab sciences or history essays — but what they really want are the skills to buy a fixer-upper and DIY it themselves in order to build home equity, the ability to do basic maintenance and repair on older cars instead of leasing a new one every few years, the ability to cook from scratch, an understanding of economics and investment strategies in order to maximize and grow their savings, etc. Because in the current economy, a BA in classics even from a prestigious college is not generally going to allow someone to support a family, pay for health insurance, and pay off the loans that financed that prestigious degree. Of course if you happen to be an independently wealthy European with access to free university education, and most of the cooking, cleaning, and repair jobs in your family are farmed out to the intellectual plankton at the bottom of the food chain, then you can afford to focus on learning four languages and attending lots of plays and operas. 😉

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2 hours ago, Corraleno said:

I'm kind of surprised that so many people who feel perfectly comfortable teaching "school subjects" at home simultaneously object to the teaching of what they see as "home subjects" at school. 

Not sure if my random jumping into the thread made me seem to fall into this category, but I dont. I think schools should teach a wide range of subjects and that many students would be better served taking them. (Your personal finance courses is a good example.)

I do believe that academics as a term however does not encompass all courses taught and that when discussing things like academic rigor or excellence a distinction exists as to what subjects fall in those parameters.

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3 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I think it needs it's own thread, because that will be a huge fun topic. 🙂

There's this... 

 

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32 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

I was semi-fluent in Ukrainian when I was 10, come to think of it, and English pushed every last piece of it out of my head. I don't even understand it when other people speak it nowadays. I tend to forget about this, but you do raise a good poiint...

I wonder what parameters have the most impact on what is remembered and what is not?

I haven't forgotten the Spanish or French I learned through immersion, but then I have been in a position to at least read or listen to those languages on a recurrent basis thought my life--and I was in immersion environments for both past the age of ten. I have had the experience of having a language temporarily made inaccessible; the most striking was when I returned to visit my parents in Nicaragua after spending a year and a half in a total immersion setting in Japan as a young adult. I could still understand Spanish, though I think with some difficulty, but I couldn't actually speak more than the simplest words like "yes" and "no". After a couple of weeks in the country my Spanish was coming back and I could carry on a decent conversation. Then someone asked me to say something in Japanese and I drew a complete blank--it felt like the part of my brain that knew Japanese was locked away in a vault, completely inaccessible. I had been speaking exclusively Japanese for over a year, but two weeks back in a different language immersion environment and it was as if I had no knowledge of Japanese at all.

Truly one of the oddest experiences of my life. It did make me wonder about the neural logistics of language processing 

Languages that I only studied in a classroom environment never have stuck for me, though I also never stuck with classroom study of any given language for more than a year or so.

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20 minutes ago, maize said:

I wonder what parameters have the most impact on what is remembered and what is not?

I haven't forgotten the Spanish or French I learned through immersion, but then I have been in a position to at least read or listen to those languages on a recurrent basis thought my life--and I was in immersion environments for both past the age of ten. I have had the experience of having a language temporarily made inaccessible; the most striking was when I returned to visit my parents in Nicaragua after spending a year and a half in a total immersion setting in Japan as a young adult. I could still understand Spanish, though I think with some difficulty, but I couldn't actually speak more than the simplest words like "yes" and "no". After a couple of weeks in the country my Spanish was coming back and I could carry on a decent conversation. Then someone asked me to say something in Japanese and I drew a complete blank--it felt like the part of my brain that knew Japanese was locked away in a vault, completely inaccessible. I had been speaking exclusively Japanese for over a year, but two weeks back in a different language immersion environment and it was as if I had no knowledge of Japanese at all.

Truly one of the oddest experiences of my life. It did make me wonder about the neural logistics of language processing 

Languages that I only studied in a classroom environment never have stuck for me, though I also never stuck with classroom study of any given language for more than a year or so.

 

I'd be curious, too. I'd also be curious how much of my Ukrainian could come back, because it IS very similar to Russian, and perhaps the differences I've forgotten about are hiding in my brain somewhere ;-). 

Your experience does sound a lot like mine, though, where a language you're fluent in but is not your first language gets "pushed aside" by another such language. 

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7 hours ago, Terabith said:

But, not everyone can do all those things in the time allotted.  And by high school, I think some specialization makes sense.  

I want to think more about this.  

NZ requires only 3 courses at a high level to get a high school diploma (although many kids take 4 or 5).  My younger boy is taking Calculus, Chemistry, and Geography.  I have a student who did Art History, Music, and English; I have another student whose three classes are Economics, Calculus, and Accounting.  NZ encourages generalized education until 15, but allows specialization at 16 (11th grade).  By specializing, students can go deeper and develop thinking skills higher on Blooms Taxonomy. 

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3 hours ago, Corraleno said:

There's this... 

Oh, yes. I remember! 

We need to re-create this thread!

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14 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

How would you do this though? It is contradictory. You cannot have depth- true depth-  in most fields without sacrificing breadth, ...... So what core competencies are you advocating to broaden and yet achieve sufficient depth in overall and where can that be accomplished? I am honestly asking, because I don't see how it's possible. 

 

Quote

 I think depth and breadth are at odds. My intention was to say that you cannot have depth without sacrificing breadth, and I think depth is of more value than breadth in the foundational years. You cannot have both, not in the true sense of depth.

We are doing depth and breadth concurrently through the study of Geography.  Geography integrates Economics, Political Science, Earth Science, Public Policy, Psychology, Sociology, Math, Data Science, History, and Ethics!  We go deep and hard into single topics and then research how each of the silo-ed subject areas affects the topic. 

The most recent topic my ds completed was comparing the impact of the first leaders after independence (Mobutu vs Khama) on the economic and social development of the DRC vs Botswana today.  Big, huge, deep question, shored up with detailed analysis from a variety of fields. Depth and Breadth at the same time. 

 

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10 hours ago, Corraleno said:

There's this... 

 

That is definitely a worth read, but it's locked. I think 9 years later, we need a new one! But it's someone else's turn to start a Big Thread! 🙂  The Horse is brain drained, LOL. 

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And also, thanks to everyone for contributing to a very engaging thread. I ran out of likes midday yesterday. And brain power. But it's been great having a very active thread on Gen that isn't ITT, LOL. 🙂

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I should be packing for our Christmas travels, but this is too fun and just the kind of nerdy break I need from all the travel logistics, lol. 

On the "why Latin and Greek?" question I think it's important to remember that in the historical tradition from which our academic institutions evolved, Latin and Greek were the curriculum because for a very very long time those were the only readily available literatures to study. And you had to study literature because how else would you learn to write and speak well without excellent examples of speaking and writing? Literary study was the heart of the general curriculum because it was seen as the best way to develop our shared human faculty for communication.

It wasn't until the 19th century that there was enough of a vernacular literary tradition to start considering how it ought to figure in academic studies, nevermind access to vernacular translations of classical literature to make possible their study without first learning the languages (setting aside the question of whether you're actually doing the same thing, which you aren't of course, but just to consider the historical reasons why things were the way they were and now are different). And it also wasn't really until the 20th century that the strong version of the "Western canon" argument develops - it's mostly a relic of the fight against communism (later transferred to the "war on terror," etc, etc) and not, as far as I can tell, intrinsic to classics itself, which has always had an evolving canon in which a few works never changed but many others did. 

I think mms mentioned Fr. Donnelly somewhere recently - what I find really interesting about his work is that he was a classically trained Jesuit in the early 20th century who wrote Greek rhetoric textbooks BUT ALSO argued for adapting classical composition methods to English literature (and he wrote great textbooks for that, too). Sure, probably not everyone in modern democratic societies needs to be reading Latin and Greek - though some people should and I think more people could if they were taught as actual languages and not logic puzzles. But everyone still needs to write and speak their own language well, and on that there is much to glean from the classical educational methods embodied in the Ratio and the Renaissance humanist schools (in the 19th century, classics had already deviated from that tradition in a more scientific, less literary direction, and that is the version of classics that EM seems to have experienced - a lot of the "newer" methods she disapproved of are actually very explicit and intentional attempts to go back to the older tradition). Instead, we've gone in the direction of teaching composition by formula (the wretched five paragraph essay, etc), and it really doesn't seem to have been a success.

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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

That is definitely a worth read, but it's locked. I think 9 years later, we need a new one! But it's someone else's turn to start a Big Thread! 🙂  The Horse is brain drained, LOL. 


swimmermom3 is still around sometimes, just username change. Miss dereksurfs and Wendy (SparklyUnicorn), among quite a few others. nmoira is definitely missed too.

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On 12/18/2019 at 7:52 AM, Ordinary Shoes said:

We have friends who send their kids to a "classical" charter school and I keep my mouth shut when they talk about the value of a classical education. They honestly believe that the education provided at that charter is classical. I know that they don't want to hear about how it's not actually classical or even discuss what classical education is. The school calls itself classical so it's classical, end of discussion. 

In my bubble, I see a lot of talk about "Christian classical education." It's tied up in the Benedict Option thing. The idea seems to be that classical education is about virtue. Wasn't there a book a few years ago arguing that Charlotte Mason was classical because CM was about virtue and classical education was about virtue? "Virtue" is a buzzword for these people. I don't think virtue is taught by intending to teach virtue, KWIM? 

ETA that there was a time that I was very 'romantic' about this. I got into Circe and read the books that everyone recommends, Esolen, Senior, etc (don't have time to list all of them). I'm past it now and don't have the words to explain all of the issues with this mentality but essentially IMHO, it's incredibly naive to believe the reading the *right* books will magically produce a desired outcome. 

 

Your posts in this thread resonate so deeply!  Quoting you because my points launch off from here.  

About a year ago, I started a thread about "who's pulling the strings in classical ed."  The questions I wanted answered, but struggled to articulate: Who's defining classical ed right now?  What are they getting right?  What are they getting dead wrong?  I wasn't talking about the average curriculum vendor.  I was talking about a new whiff of sentiments coming out of articles at Circe and similar sites.  

At that time,  I'd been a long time homeschooling parent who chose a local uni-model classical Christian school to get a breather.  You would find lofty discussion about classical ed at this school among the administrators: truth, goodness, beauty.  Virtue.  Impressive reading lists.  Politics.  All the authors you mentioned.  So much came down to a formula they'd gotten "right."  What I excused as youthful idealism, and likely began that way, was far worse-- an unfortunate view of families, particularly women and children -- as organisms which could be rightly educated -- thus renewing culture.  Pawns.  The methodology was control.  It was the least Christian view of human beings I have ever encountered.  

All of that to say -- in the past 12-13 years I've been homeschooling, I now recognize the conversation on classical education which was taken up and promulgated by early homeschooling circles, has expanded to include the newer shinier brand of classical private/charter/hybrid schools -- institutional education.  As social media algorithms and mass marketing go, articles centered on classical institution topics eclipsed supports for parent-teachers.  Add to that the criticisms which the members of the institutions lay upon the heads of homeschool parents without distinction -- no wonder the online "conversation" of parent-teachers has diminished in classical ed!  We may get a "bless her heart" nod on social media, but there are very few classical outlets truly ringing the bell for parent - educators.

Just my $.02.

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2 hours ago, Doodlebug said:

 

Your posts in this thread resonate so deeply!  Quoting you because my points launch off from here.  

About a year ago, I started a thread about "who's pulling the strings in classical ed."  The questions I wanted answered, but struggled to articulate: Who's defining classical ed right now?  What are they getting right?  What are they getting dead wrong?  I wasn't talking about the average curriculum vendor.  I was talking about a new whiff of sentiments coming out of articles at Circe and similar sites.  

At that time,  I'd been a long time homeschooling parent who chose a local uni-model classical Christian school to get a breather.  You would find lofty discussion about classical ed at this school among the administrators: truth, goodness, beauty.  Virtue.  Impressive reading lists.  Politics.  All the authors you mentioned.  So much came down to a formula they'd gotten "right."  What I excused as youthful idealism, and likely began that way, was far worse-- an unfortunate view of families, particularly women and children -- as organisms which could be rightly educated -- thus renewing culture.  Pawns.  The methodology was control.  It was the least Christian view of human beings I have ever encountered.  

All of that to say -- in the past 12-13 years I've been homeschooling, I now recognize the conversation on classical education which was taken up and promulgated by early homeschooling circles, has expanded to include the newer shinier brand of classical private/charter/hybrid schools -- institutional education.  As social media algorithms and mass marketing go, articles centered on classical institution topics eclipsed supports for parent-teachers.  Add to that the criticisms which the members of the institutions lay upon the heads of homeschool parents without distinction -- no wonder the online "conversation" of parent-teachers has diminished in classical ed!  We may get a "bless her heart" nod on social media, but there are very few classical outlets truly ringing the bell for parent - educators.

Just my $.02.

 
I think it’s the opposite, actually: the current neo-classical “revival” began with private Christian schools in the eighties and nineties. Most people didn’t have access to one of these schools, so enter Veritas Press and then The Well-Trained Mind. Followed later by Circe, Classical Academic Press, and others. Many of the people involved in these enterprises were involved in the classical school (not only homeschool) movement as well (I think The Well-Trained Mind was so beloved partly because it said some version of this could be done at home and that there are many different resources you could use to do it).  I think a lot of the growth in the school models and in the movement did happen as a result of interest from homeschoolers, but it isn’t something that began with homeschoolers. In fact, some of the people involved in starting the early schools were vocal about the fact that a true classical education could not be achieved with homeschooling. I think they are right! But I also think some of the schools probably aren’t able to provide a “true” classical education (whatever that is, lol), either, for many of the reasons mentioned in this thread.

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